The Badminton World Federation will seek to test a five-game scoring system – to 11 points with no setting – in the coming months.
Following the BWF Council meeting on 30 May, it has been agreed to invite tournament hosts to trial this scoring option, starting from August. While no decision has been taken on whether a new scoring system will be adopted, the Council has determined there is enough interest in the matter to consider what alternatives there may be and how these would alter badminton for players, fans and other stakeholders.
“Following consultations with players and BWF delegates about various scoring systems, we think there is merit in testing alternatives and we have chosen to test the 5×11 option which is significantly different from what we have now. In recent years, the increasing time span of matches and long lead-up to the end of games and matches – especially where there’s a big points difference – has somewhat compromised the level of excitement,” said BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer.
“The 5×11 scoring system is aimed at creating more excitement and interest while reducing the time which matches take to be completed. The testing will show to what extent this can be achieved while maintaining the many positive elements of the present scoring system. However, we are not ruling out other possibilities and we will continue engaging our stakeholders and seeking their feedback from the testing. This is a very important and inclusive process in which we are involving players, member associations, commercial partners, media and other badminton-related entities.
“If things go well we may take things further but that decision has not been made yet. We have a Council meeting in November at which time we will evaluate the feedback and data that we get from this testing.”
Testing may take place at Level 3 and Level 4 tournaments – including Grand Prix events – and given the number of tournaments scheduled between August and November, there is the possibility of a sizeable testing pool. This is the first formal discussion on the scoring system since 2006 when BWF introduced a rally point scoring system (21×3) which remains in place today. While the changes made to the scoring system in 2006 have been a tremendous success, the BWF has continued seeking to optimise all aspects of badminton to improve the sport and create further excitement and intensity.
As intended from the outset, the BWF will launch an online poll to gather opinions from badminton’s large fan base. These views will also be considered at the Council’s year-end deliberations.
“Fans are an important part of our badminton family and they are also quite knowledgeable about the sport. We want to hear what they think about the possibility of a change in the scoring format and also about this particular scoring system which we are testing,” explained Høyer.
Chair of the BWF Athletes’ Commission, Emma Mason (left), noted BWF “took great care to ensure players were informed of the scoring-system proposal and given a chance to voice their opinions”.
“The 5×11 system, resulting from the BWF Council meeting in India, is a fair reflection of the feedback from players and member associations. Players expressed concern that the proposed 5×9 system might result in games that were too short and I am pleased the BWF Council took this view into consideration,” she explained.
The players’ representative also supported the testing process, stating: “The Athletes’ Commission believes the period of testing and consultation is the best way to ensure the correct outcome for players.”
Based on the feedback from testing, the BWF Council will consider if to recommend any changes to the current scoring system to its membership – and whether any changes should take place before or after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
No decision has been taken on the timing of any potential changes to the scoring system. If there is to be a change before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, this would have to be decided before the Olympic Qualification period starts in May 2015.
Top: BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer (centre) is flanked by BWF Deputy President Gustavo Salazar Delgado (left) and BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund at last month’s BWF Annual General Meeting in New Delhi, India.
Bottom: The BWF Member’s Forum at which scoring options were discussed.